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Sections on Life cycle
• Jewish and Christian
• Jewish Bible has the same books as a
Protestant Old Testament.
Old Testament
New Testament
Do NOT call the Jewish Bible the
“Old Testament”
• Old Implies New, and Jews do NOT think it
has been replaced!
Jewish Bible is TANAKH
Different Versions in very early period
“Masoretic Text” MT (standard since 2nd
century CE) for Judaism
Hebrew and a little Aramaic
Jewish Bible = Tanakh
•Torah “Instruction”
•Nevi’im “Prophets”
•Kethuvim “Writings”
• P. 28 in Breslauer.
1. Torah
• 5 Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers Deuteronomy.
• “Pentateuch”
– Same in all Bibles: Jewish or Christian
2. Prophets
• Former P. History Books
• Latter P.
Books of Prophecy
– Often poetic
– Attributed to named individuals
• Readings from prophets in synagogues
are called the “HAFTARAH”
Prophet readings in Synagogue
• Torah Portions are “completed” by reading
a related passage from the Prophets.
• These prophetic readings are called the
Writings: Everything else
• Wisdom Literature
• Poetry / songs of Praise
• More history books
Jewish Bibles
• 3 divisions reflect ritual significance:
• Torah most important.
• Christian Old Testament is arranged more
chronologically, and ends with prophetic
books, in anticipation of the New
Testament, held to be the fulfillment of O.T.
Festival Readings
• Some biblical books are especially
important at various festivals:
Torah scroll
• 5 books written on a single scroll
• Ritual centre of Synagogue life.
Annual Cycle
• Torah scroll read every year, or every 3
• Special festival when the end is reached
and the congregation starts over again.
Ark in Krakow
Bimah in Krakow
Simhat Torah.
Jewish Biblical Interpretation
• Generally:
• Historicity of Israel’s story affirmed
• Metaphorical and Symbolic levels of
meaning are accepted too.
Jewish Tradition
• Oral Torah describes “Halakhah” (to Walk),
Jewish “Law” or the proper way of life as
understood by the great Rabbis.
Developed from thinking about “Written
• Civil, Family morals
• Ritual and other religious traditions.
• Discussed at great length in Oral Torah.
• Oral Torah: huge collection of books:
• Continuous tradition of talking about
What does Halakhah regulate?
• What happens you are born to when you die
• What you do when wake up to when you go to
• Weekly
• Annual